updated September 2018:
Yee I-Lann (b. 1971, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysian Borneo) lives and works in Kota Kinabalu. Her primarily photomedia-based art practice speculates on issues of culture, power and the role of historical memory in our social experience. Such layers necessitate an extensive and multi-layered visual vocabulary drawn from research, historical references, popular culture, archives and everyday objects. Yee graduated from the University of South Australia (Adelaide, Australia) with a Bachelor of Arts (Visual Arts) in 1993 with a major in Photography and a minor in Cinematography.
After graduating from art school, Yee spent 10 months in Europe in 1993 (to see artworks in the real). She walked from Nice to Pisa and from Florence to Assisi. She worked as an art therapist’s assistant in London, whilst attending a short summer school painting class at Central St Martin’s School of Art. On her return to Malaysia, she moved from Kota Kinabalu to Kuala Lumpur in 1994 and started work as a production assistant at Renaissance Films (primarily producing TV commercials). She also worked as a volunteer at Pink Triangle Malaysia on issues related to HIV and AIDS, whilst working nights as a paparazzi photographer for ETC then FHM magazine social pages, allowing her access to every club and party in town, to hand out free condoms.
Yee was a co-founding member of LabDNA, an art collective based in Kuala Lumpur in the late 1990s, she helped co-organize the multimedia theatre event To Catch A Cloud at Planetarium Negara (1996) and the first 3 rave parties in Malaysia including Blue Skies held at Pudu Jail (1997). More recently, she was the creative director of the North Borneo History Enthusiasts community project with Kota Kinabalu City Hall, Bonding With Gaya Street (2012); a co-curator for the Singapore Biennale: If The World Changed (2013) and an associate of The Ricecooker Archives: Southeast Asian Rock ’n’ Roll Treasury (2016) in The Zhongshan Building with her partner, principle Ricecooker Archivist, Joe Kidd. Yee is currently part of KOTA-K studio, a creative working studio space in Kota Kinabalu shared with 2 architects. KOTA-K intermittently hosts talks by visiting artists, architects, academics and curators, as well as craft workshops and exhibitions.
Yee has shown extensively worldwide since her first group exhibition in Malaysia and four come home at the Sabah Art Gallery in 1994. Recent selected exhibition highlights include: Glorious: earthly pleasures and heavenly realms, The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia (2017); SUNSHOWER: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s to Now, The National Art Center, Tokyo, Japan (2017); Converging Voices: Gender and Identity, Hofstra University Museum, Hempstead, NY, USA (2017); Yinchuan Biennale, For an Image, Faster Than Light, Yinchuan, China (2016); Artist and Empire: (En)countering Colonial Legacies, National Gallery Singapore, Singapore (2016).
Her art work is in major public, corporate and private collections, selected highlights include: Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, USA; Museum of 21st Century Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, japan; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan; Australia National Art Gallery, Canberra, Australia; Singapore Art Museum, Singapore; National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; UBS Art Collection, London, UK; Kadist Foundation, Paris, France; Khazanah Art Collection, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Universiti Sains Malaysia Art Collection, Georgetown, Malaysia; Griffith University Art Collection, Queensland, Australia.
Yee has worked in the Malaysian film industry since 1996 on local and international productions as a production designer and within film art departments. Highlights of her local credits as production designer include: Bukak Api (1996); Spinning Gasing (2000); Lips to Lips (2000); Embun (2002); Gol & Gincu (2005); Raindogs (2006); Dukun (2006); Karaoke (2009); Senandung Malam (2012); Bunohan (2013). Her latest international credit is for Channel 4 UK’s Indian Summers (2015) as Set Decorator. Yee lectured in production design for film at Akademi Seni Budaya Dan Warisan Kebangsaan (ASWARA) in Kuala Lumpur in 2003 – 2008.
Most recently Yee was a speaker at Art Fair Philippines in Manila (February 2018) and at the Art Basel Hong Kong: Conversations program in Hong Kong (March 2018). She will be part of an international discussion forum at the Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile (CHAT) in Hong Kong (December 2018) and a panelist speaker for Art and Action: Contemporary Art and Discourse in Southeast Asia conference at LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore (December 2018).
I-Lann is currently working towards a new work commissioned for the National Gallery Singapore OUTBOUND project for 2019 and her next major solo exhibition to be held for the first time in her hometown Kota Kinabalu in 2020.
Drop me an email at yeeilannmail[at]gmail[dot]com